The Taliban has been busy.

They do try to fight foreign troops (aiming mainly at the Canadians and the French: they admit the attacks are trying to get these countries to remove their troops).

And they are busy trying to exaggerate “civilian” casualties by hiding out among civilians. That always gets headlines in the papers, blaming the US for not having bombs that are smart enough to kill only the bad guys, not the families being held hostage while they are hiding out. So what else is new?

Well, it’s not new, but  girl’s schools, music shops and barber shops have been attacked, and social workers, medical personnel, aid workers, and teachers have been killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Well, why not? They can make headlines, intimidate organizations, and make civilian aid organizations withdraw their aid.   Last week, two doctors working for the UN in a Polio vaccination program were deliberately killed by the Taliban. As a result, two million children in the Kandahar region near Pakistan won’t get immunized, since the World Health Organization is stopping the program.

However, despite the headlines, most of Afghanistan is peaceful, and Iran is helping give vaccine shots to children in the areas near their border with Afghanistan, under the UN/WHO and Red Crescent organizations.

Iran is supposed to hate the “great Satan”, but actually there are a lot of things where the two countries cooperate, and that includes helping rebuild Afghanistan and working against the drug gangs. (Iran has a huge heroin addiction problem).

What, you didn’t know that Iran helped shelter hundreds of thousand of refugees who fled Afghanistan, or that they sheltered many Shiite Iraqi refugees who fled Saddam Hussein’s genocides? No, I guess you didn’t know that. But thanks to “he who cannot be named”, a lot of them are going home.

Buoyed by international re-engagement in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, more than 5 million Afghan refugees returned home from Pakistan and Iran during the early 2000s, making the largest voluntary repatriation in the history of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

afghan

The kids some Afghan kids living with Poultry specialist Engineer Hamid’s father’s family in Iran. Cute, aren’t they…

Remember those faces when next you talk about war. Kids tend to be caught in the middle of these things.

Another thing to remember is that parents love their children, and will sacrifice for them. That is what makes the Taliban’s destruction of schools and clinics so terrible: these things are not accidents, or in the crossfire of war. These are “soft” targets, chosen because the thugs know that the civilians are unlikely to fight back.

Been there, done that. Thirty seven of my friends were killed the year I was zipped out of Africa a couple weeks before one of my friends, a doctor, was killed.

But the latest reports out of Pakistan that the Taliban attempted a “Beslan” type raid on a school.

This happened in  Dir, where locals have not been happy with the Taliban.

Early reports said that 300 children at a school were held hostage, but these early reports were wrong.

Dawn (a Pakistani news agency) reported:

Police said the militants were going to Swat to join their comrades in Peuchar area when they confronted the villagers in Maskari area. The militants were asked to surrender, but they ran towards a government school.

but that some eyewitnesses claimed that the three suicide bombers entered a bus, and were trying to enter a school when the locals intervened.

… the locals in Dir have so far resisted the spread of Taliban influence by organizing small armed groups called peace committees to guard their villages against militants. Some media reports suggested that the three militants Thursday had tried to take hostage about 300 children in a primary school near which they stopped, but Sher denied that any such attempt was made. “They never entered the school, and a very brief exchange of fire took place between them and the villagers near the outer wall of the school, after which they fled to the nearby forest, where two of them blew up,” he said”Not a single bullet hit the school building,” he added. “Thank God we heard the children screaming, and then almost every male in the village came out with a gun and forced the Taliban to flee,” said resident Ghulam Ghaous, 39, whose 9-year-old son was inside the school.

Presumably, three or four more versions of the story will be released before someone decides on what actually happened.

But the story, that ordinary folks defended their kids, is a change from all the bad news about that poor war torn area.

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Thanks for the headsup from Gateway Pundit.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Makaipa blog.

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